Former State Senator Rita Hart now has the backing of every Democrat representing Iowa in Congress for her bid to succeed Representative Dave Loebsack in the second district. The campaign announced support this morning from Representatives Abby Finkenauer (IA-01) and Cindy Axne (IA-03). I enclose below the full statement.
Loebsack endorsed Hart last month, and State Auditor Rob Sand did the same last week. Former Lieutenant Governor Patty Judge and a number of state lawmakers are among more than six dozen other high-profile supporters of Hart in the 24 counties that comprise IA-02. The current press contact for Hart's campaign, Zachary Meunier, managed Loebsack's re-election effort in 2018.
With several other prospective Democratic candidates taking themselves out of contention in recent weeks, Newman Abuissa appears likely to be Hart's only competitor for the 2020 nomination. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee will surely back Hart but probably will spend little on the primary.
The Republican field has not yet settled in IA-02. Although the GOP has vowed to play for this seat, and recent voting patterns suggest it could be competitive, I question whether Republicans will invest heavily in the race. Hart is a good fit for the area and should be able to capitalize on the district's slight Democratic lean.
The 24 counties in IA-02 contain 164,390 active registered Democrats, 142,462 Republicans, and 184,572 no-party voters, according to the latest figures from the Iowa Secretary of State's office.
June 11 news release from the Hart campaign:
Today, Rita Hart, lifelong Iowan, farmer, 20-year educator, and Democratic candidate for Iowa’s Second Congressional District, announced she has been endorsed by Congresswomen Cindy Axne and Abby Finkenauer. Following the endorsement of Dave Loebsack, Hart has been endorsed by all Democratic members of Iowa’s congressional delegation.
“I’m proud to call Senator Hart a colleague and friend after serving together in the Iowa legislature and I know firsthand that Iowa working families can trust that she will stand up for them,” said Congresswoman Abby Finkenauer. “Whether it’s working in a classroom or on her farm, Rita’s proven to be tough enough to stand up to Washington special interests and I know she’ll work tirelessly to be a voice for Iowa families.”
“Rita is the problem solver Iowa families need on their side,” said Congresswoman Cindy Axne. “In the State Senate, Rita worked with anybody who was willing to make people’s lives better and I know she’ll do the same in Congress.”
“This campaign is about bringing people together and putting forward new ideas to solve our big problems and I’m thrilled to have Cindy and Abby on my team,” said Rita Hart, Democratic candidate for Iowa’s Second Congressional District. “As our campaign continues to build momentum, I’m reminded each day what I’m fighting for—for everyone to have access to affordable health care, for families not to be crippled by college and vocational training debt, and to give hard working Iowans —not billionaires and special interests— a voice in Washington.”
Rita has now picked up endorsements from over 70 local leaders from all of the 24 counties in the district, every Democratic member of Iowa’s congressional district—Dave Loebsack, Cindy Axne, and Abby Finkenauer— and Iowa Auditor Rob Sand.
Rita Hart is a lifelong Iowan, farmer, and 20-year educator running for Iowa’s 2nd Congressional district. A graduate of North Iowa Area Community College and the University of Northern Iowa, Rita taught in the Calamus-Wheatland and Bennett Community school districts. After leaving the classroom, she led programs that facilitated career pathway opportunities for students with local businesses and served as an active volunteer in her eastern Iowa community. Rita is also a former member of the Iowa Senate where she represented a swing district and worked with both parties to deliver results for hard working Iowa families, small businesses, and farms. Rita and her husband Paul have five grown children. She and Paul live on their family corn and soybean farm near Wheatland, which they've owned and operated since 1986.